When your business model relies heavily on e-commerce, you can do nothing more important than developing a high-quality portfolio of product photography—it’s the face of your business.
This history of the internet is a history of the interface—of people’s connection with it. Phones technology is comparatively simple—there’s either a clear connection to talk with or not. With the internet, however, there’s a lot that can potentially get in the way, and nothing shows this more clearly than the progress of the interface. Back in 1995 when this hilarious ad for AOL was running, the big marketing draw was that, wow, you were selling flowers on the internet—you didn’t have to do much more than exist online to be on the cutting edge of e-commerce. Not only did you not need high-quality images, but the dial-up modem that your consumer was using would probably start to smoke as the customer stared at the place where the picture was loading, line by line (you remember).
That was then, but now is definitely now. The wonder people felt in the presence of the internet was replaced a decade ago by boredom, skepticism, and a demand to not be inconvenienced. The slightest shortcoming in one’s e-commerce site or blandness in product photography could be the tipping point that pushes them elsewhere.
Good product photography is hard. It takes time. But it’s essential because it’s the only way your online customers will know your product. A lot of brands seeking online marketing in Orange County look at all that is needed to get their online shop up and running and decide that they’ll pay an agency to do their website well. After this, they think, they’ll just do product photography in-house or shop around for the absolute cheapest option. I’d strongly caution against this approach for almost any situation. When a customer comes to your website, they aren’t there just to have fun clicking around your sleek new website—they’re there to see the product. It’s the center and the life blood of the website, and should be treated as such. Both things are essential, but even if a website is basic, if the photos on the site really stand out and convey the product, you’re going to make an impact.
Quality demands quality
The product’s quality is what’s lost in the difference between a good and a great photo. Say you sell shirts made with high quality fabric. When you’re in the store you can pick up the shirt, feel the fabric, and know that the price of the shirt is higher because of the exceptional quality of the fabric. When your high-quality shirts are trapped as images on the internet, they are at a distinct disadvantage. If you put a picture of your $75 shirt next to a similarly designed shirt on the Walmart website that runs for $35, and if the pictures look more or less the same at a glance, your customer has no reason not to go for the cheaper option. Water flows downhill. All that lost interaction from the in-person experience has to be made up for in the quality of the photo, or there’s just no reason. The picture has to tell the difference, all on its own, and it has just a few seconds to do so.
Good product photography isn’t magic, but it does take skill to make a photo stand up to the prevailing professional standard. For those looking at online marketing in Orange County or anywhere, your e-commerce success starts and ends with the photography. It’s that simple: if the quality of your product matters, the quality of the photo matters—period.